Skip to main content
SPINES OF PORCUPINE
and even occurring in Europe. There are several species, of
which the common Hystrix cristata is the best known, and is the
one which is to be found in Europe.
The spines of the common form and of the others are solid in
the middle of the body, but on the tail they are expanded into
hollow quills, which make much rattling. They are as a rule
black and white, the middle of the spine being- banded with
black. A great crest of coarse long hairs on the head is
responsible for the scientific name of the well-known form.
PIG. 245,óCommon Porcupine. Uystrix cristata. x ^.
Sometimes in this genus, as in the Tree Porcupines of Brazil, the
spines are orange or yellow; but it is said that the colour is soon
lost in this country. As a matter of fact it is the easiest thing
in the world to wash out with ordinary tap-water much of the
yellow colour of the spines of the South American JSpMngurus.
The same may be the case with the pigment of the Old-World
Porcupines. There are fourteen to fifteen dorsal vertebrae and
four or five lumbars. The tail varies in length, but is shorter
than the long tail of the arboreal New-World forms. It seems
impossible when mentioning the Porcupine to escape from some
observations about its alleged habit of shooting its quills. For
some reason or otfcer Buffon has got the credit of inventing, or at